Dangerous Driving

Justice written question – answered on 30th April 2008.

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Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what consideration he has given to bringing forward proposals to (a) make causing serious injury an aggravating factor when sentencing for persons convicted of dangerous driving, (b) introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and (c) increase the maximum sentence for persons convicted of dangerous driving; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Sentencing Guidelines Council guideline on seriousness deals with aggravating factors to be taken into account when sentencing generally. It includes among the factors indicating a more than usually serious degree of harm 'an especially serious physical or psychological effect on the victim, even if unintended'.

Following the comprehensive "Review of Road Traffic Offences involving Bad Driving" undertaken jointly by the Home Office and Department for Transport we introduced a range of measures including an increase in penalties for careless driving and new offences of causing death by careless driving or driving while disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured in the Road Safety Act 2006. These changes follow on from the increases in penalties for causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs, and causing death through aggravated vehicle-taking, in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. These changes take account of the special place that offences causing death have in the criminal law.

While we appreciate that in other cases bad driving can have tragic consequences we do not think separate offences are appropriate. This is a particularly difficult area of law as the consequences of the offender's action are often wholly disproportionate to his culpability. We have no plans to increase the penalty for dangerous driving or for a further review at this time.

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